Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 2


jāti-antara-pariṇāmaḥ prakṛti-āpūrāt ||2||

The transformation into other existences
is due to the flow in the process of matter.

jāti - the form of existence, existence; birth, production; re-birth; position assigned by birth, rank, caste, family, race, lineage; genusantara - other; different; another; being in the interior, interiorpariṇāma - transformation into; change, alteration, development, evolutionprakṛti - the original producer of the material world; nature or process of matter; nature, character, constitution, temper, dispositionāpūra - filling up, making full; flow; flood, flooding, excess, abundance

Commentaries and Reflections

Commentary by T Krishnamacharya:

Commentary by TKV Desikachar:

“What is the common factor of all the ideas in this Sūtra?
From one character to another.
Changes of mind are not based on the acquisition of new qualities,
but on those that already exist.
To bring about a desired change in the mind,
one must vary the proportion of the three basic qualities:
openness, activity and heaviness.”

Commentary by S Ramaswami:

“The question taken up here is the transformation of one level of being to another, i.e. Man to Deva.
It is possible for one being to become another being over the next life.
This relates to the concept of transmigration.
How it takes place, is discussed in this Sūtra.
This change is purely by the new life being filled up by Prakṛti.
There is no change in Puruṣa.
The process is obviously very subtle.
The new Janma is a rearrangement of Prakṛti.
It is possible to either go higher up or lower down:
i.e. Nandi to a celestial bull by Śiva
i.e. Nahuṣa to a serpent by Agastya.
Having assumed this, and that the transmigration is either Sattva or Tamas, why is this?
Your actions produce.
Vyāsa says causes such as virtue or Dharma, or its opposite unvirtuous or Adharma indirectly change the flow of Prakṛti.
This is explained in the next Sūtra.”

Commentary by Paul Harvey:

Powers are different arrangements
of what already exists as us.
The common factor is a redistribution of matter.”

Patañjali talks about the process of how something changes.
The possibilities are already there, it’s up to you to make the changes.
So we all have the potential for change.
This change is a rearrangement of what already exists.
You can expose different people to the same influences,
and they will respond or change in different ways.”